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Cantillon Iris - Brasserie Cantillon

Not Rated.
Cantillon IrisCantillon Iris

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

481 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 481
Hads: 1,952
Avg: 4.26
pDev: 9.62%
Wants: 708
Gots: 448 | FT: 38
Brewed by:
Brasserie Cantillon
Belgium | website

Style | ABV
Lambic - Unblended | 5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: TheLongBeachBum on 12-05-2002

From the brewery's website: "Although it is a spontaneous fermentation beer, the Iris is very different from the Lambic. The amber colour and the bitter and slightly caramelized taste make it a complex beer."
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 481 | Hads: 1,952
Photo of kiddynamite920
3.87/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a pretty dull orange, with some yellow highlights. Served to me without a head whatsoever. Bubbles building on the side of glass showed the carbonation, and an unclean glass sadly. No points off for the glass, just poured a bit flat looking.

S: Barnyard, red wine vinegar, lemon and a very tart aroma. Big earthiness and lemongrass. A bit of stinky sock, but in a good way somehow. Very pleasant and inviting aroma.

T: Oof! That's puckering. Lemon and vinegar, grass and dirt. Just a very earthy beer with an outstanding sour note.

M: Carbonation was actually very high and added to the astringency/puckering quality of this beer. It was strange drinking this after having a Batch 9000. Overly sweet to overly sour took my palate for a ride.

D: I'd say I could have two of these, the sourness and citrus seems like it would upset the stomach after 2-3 of these. 1 was enough for me, my gums and tongue were dry and puckered enough for me.

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Photo of kasper
3.87/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2004 Vintage

A: Pours a cloudy, faded amber with straw-colored highlights. Fizzy short-lived off-white yields no lacing.

S: Funky earthy and floral aromas, loads of brett, and maybe some sweet olive brine.

T: Not sure how to describe this one. Flavors are rather course and earthy, like flowers smashed on smooth wet rocks. Overall, fairly sour with hints of something that reminds me of pollen. This odd, bitter flavor lingers somewhat coarsely on the finish.

M: Almost a medium bodied brew. Well carbonated but shy of champagne -- bit tingly and fizzy.

D: Much different than the other Cantillon's I've tried, mainly due to the lack of wheat and fruit. It's also not as sour as some others, but certainly does the trick. Honestly, it's this is the least favorite yet of the Cantillon sours I've tried, but that's not saying much -- it's still an extraordinary and refreshing beer. I couldn't fathom turning another one down short of being offered some other more appealing sours.

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Photo of alovesupreme
3.85/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Murky yellow with a big foamy head that dissipated rather quickly.
Floral mostly Petunia, hops,funk and slight barnyard.
Very floral taste with some vinegar and barn. Lots of Lemon Concentrate. The hops are very prominent for the style which make it obvious why hops are used sparingly traditionally in this style.
A full body which is all I would expect from the style.
A good beer, but over hopped.The bitterness is not pleasant or ideal in the style.

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.85/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a capped and corked 750 ml green bottle, best before date 12/2020. Pours out what seems a sedate and low carbonated cloudy and turbid marmalade/amber hue. It's opaque but not dark. Very quick splash of fizzy beige head.

Sharp tart notes first on the nose, citrus zest, grassy and spicy hops, mild earthy horseblanket.

Sharp, acidic, tart character up front, to a level that I've never experienced before. It's not unpalatable, in fact the converse, but wow, that's sumpin'! The citrus presence is also remarkable, as if there's a bowl of whole lemons in there, I'm picking up juice, pith and rind seperately. Fortunately by the middle some hops appear to help tone down the acidity a bit and provide some green and earthy notes, with some very mild funk on the finish, and the hops finally gaining some momentum to linger on in the aftertaste with that ubiquitous acidity.

The mouthfeel is suprisingly full-ish considering, the lack of carbonation. Texture is slippery, gets stickier on the swallow.

I'm not craving any more of this, and can't foresee that urge, however I am grateful for having the chance to sample such a unique and rare beer. It's a bit of a good window on what a lot of beers must have been like hundreds and hundreds of years ago, although most likely not as good as this stuff happens to be.

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Photo of RollBounce
3.85/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a different take then expected. sour dry and floral. not the same nose you get from their other beers. I feel other companies have copied this flavor.

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Photo of harrymel
3.85/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2004
Served to me at delirium cafe, brussels.

A: bottle has appeared to be in a place with lots of soil as I can rub the label and it feels like man hands at the end of a day of landscaping - rough and granular. The beer pours a turbid and hazy honey color. Having been poured with vigor, bubbles appeared at the surface, but transiently. No lacing.

S: tart lemons come thru with some interesting earthy and bell pepper tones. Some cider vinegar and also some anise seed at the tippy tip of the tail.

T: zinga! Sour beer! This is so sour it burns the roof of my mouth, gangster. Flavors of sweaty leather, lemons, potting soil, sheet grass.

M: thin and dry, nearly no carb left here. As mentioned, top of mouth was burning and at the end, my tongue was quite raw.

O: although this may be the sourest beer I've had, which is awesome, I don't think this beer was particularly great for cantillon. Although still very good, and I would drink again and again.

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Photo of wheelinshirt
3.85/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I find lambics to be very difficult to rate and review, but here goes. Poured from a 375 mL corked and capped mini-champagne bottle into a flute and split with a friend. $7.75 from Abe's in Bethlehem. Not really sure what to expect from an unblended lambic brewed with fresh hops. 2005 Vintage

Color is mostly clear orange gold, small head, fairly poor retention and no lacing. I guess all the acidity really kills the bubbles. Really nice color, though.

Smell is sour, tart and vinegary, obviously. This beer is fairly fresh for a lambic, but it is three years old and I think any hop aroma has faded.

Taste is sour but lacking in complexity. It tastes different from the other sours I have had, can't quite put my finger on it so I will chalk it up to hop bitterness. I wish I could describe it more helpfully.

Mouthfeel is nice, crisp, puckering. No complaints.

Drinkability is pretty high. I couldn't slam pint after pint of it, but that's not really the point. I could easily finish the small bottle myself, but what is the fun in that. Highly recommended as something different for fans of sours.

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Photo of deliriumfest
3.83/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed on 1/9/09

2006 Vintage, bottled in 2008; 750 ml bottle

Served well chilled and poured into a champagne flute. Pours a nice copper color with a foamy white head. Has a very sour/funky aroma with a bit of citrus and very little fruit. The taste replicates the smell but also includes a barnyard taste and no real fruit or sweetness. Very little carbonation and a light body concludes with a dry finish. Easily drinkable though incredible tartness could be perceived as a turn off. Wish I would have bought a smaller bottle but would definitely try again.

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Photo of stcules
3.83/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bronze color, very clean, with a beautiful compact almost white foam.
Malt in the smell, leather, slightly sour notes.
More delicate in the mouth, again some leather and malt feelings, but also some almost floral notes, delicate, anyway.
It is relatively sweet, with some honey note, too.
Less aggressive than other Cantillon products, still a very good beer.

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Photo of Stigs
3.82/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

375ml bottle, vintage 2005 (corked 2007)...served in an Ommegang chalice

A - one solid finger of bubbly off-white foam, falls to a thin layer within a few minutes. the beer is very hazy, and slightly dark gold in color.

S - very crisp and tart lemons, apples and pears. fruityness comes off incredibly fresh despite its age with green apples taking the forefront. light layers of funky grass and crackery malt underneath. very mouth watering and enticing.

T - tartness comes to the front very quickly before a massive dose of vinegary acidity takes over. overly ripened apples and white grapes struggle to find their way through.

M - light bodied wit sharp but not overly aggressive carbonation. finishes massively dry with lingering lemony tartness.

D - i've heard a few times that Iris is best fresh, perhaps this is a little past its prime as the acidity is pretty dominating. still good, especially if you're in the mood for it. would seek this out again, and drink it on the spot.

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Photo of CharlesDarwin
3.82/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Originally reviewed on December 6, 2005. Pours a gushing honey orange hazy pour, with copious off-white head. Sour, ascerbic aroma of brandied pears, olives and some green grapes. Also a little parmesan cheese and some cask aroma. Sour dry flavor of olives, oak and more cheese, all very funky. I don’t have much experience with true Lambics, so I never know what to expect or garner from the situation, but even since my run in with NG Sour Brown, I’m more interested in wild fermented beers. This is wildly funky beer. In a way, I feel like I’m drinking green olive juice. Very much pimento in this beer. There’s a nice subtle, floral sweetness in the background that’s lifting and airy, and really brings a lot to the table. This is much more quaffable than my previous experiences with past lambics. Palate is some how dry at first, then finishes sweet and supple. A softness and smoothness to this beer. My bottle keeps gushing. Interesting and woody, a lot of tooth and chewiness. Enjoyable. Tastes old, which I appreciate.

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Photo of IBUnit63
3.8/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

100th review!

Vintage 2004 poured from bottle into champagne flute...

Honey-colored, amply-carbonated with yeasty head - slowly dissipates with moderate lacing. Sparkling characteristic provides a nice Champagne aura.

Tartness is very pronounced and pungent - aroma spreads with aid of carbonation quickly - when glass is on table can sense even when stepping away. Yeast and carbonation are very abundant here.

As expected, sour-sour-sour with strong backbone of yeast. Opens up after warming. Tastes very well-made but admittedly not for me. Slight rubber tire aftertaste - oxidation?

Bright, tingly feel and finish; burnt rubber from possible oxidation is off-putting but does not destroy.

Gets better as it warms - again, non for me but a very well-made effort nonetheless.

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Photo of match1112
3.8/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: cloudy yellowish orange in color with a full finger head that quickly disappears.

s: fruits and yeast with a touch of vinegar.

t: enough tart fruits to make you pucker. with an overly vinegar finish.

m: tart and crisp with a tongue tingling vinegary acidic finish.

o: an alright beer, not my favorite wild ale. probably wont buy again unless someone wants one in a trade.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.8/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Dec 2011

The beer pours a rich looking, cloudy amber with a thin, yet consistent, blanketing of a tan head. The nose is herbal and tart with just enough sweetness. The taste is rather harsh and the herbal characteristics in the nose are blunted by the beer's intense sour tartness. The mouthfeel is tart and acidic, but not overwhelmingly sour. The aftertaste is a mix of sweet and sour with a slightly lingering bitterness, and tons of acidity. Not the best cantillon I've had and I'm not sure what the hype is...still a good sour.

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Photo of magictrokini
3.78/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2005 vintage. This is the first unblended lambic I've tried. Pours hazy orange-gold with a bubbly white head that quickly disappears. Musty aroma of yeast, lemon, apple, spice, and old wood. Taste is fruity, citrus sweet up front, but instantly turns into a dank acidic sourness with an apple wine/vinegar bite. As it warmed the sourness lightened up just a bit. Dry, sweet finish akin to a Flemish.

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Photo of stakem
3.78/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml bottle, '07 vintage bottled in '09 shared with some friends and poured into a matching Cantillon long stemmed tulip. The brew appears amber in color with an off-white to tan cap that maintains pretty solid retention for the style from a constant stream of carbonation rising to the surface. A light swirl revives the tan cap once it fades.

The smell of this brew is bold with damp woody character upfront. More smells reveal a bit of herbal hop character that blends into a fruity aspect. A tangy lactic component is throughout with a very pronounced earthy, damp mildew-like character somewhat similar to moist cork. It smells quite enjoyable but individually the scents of this brew are a bit contrasting and unexpected when mixed together.

The taste is tangy initially with an equally bold flavor of damp old wood and must just like the aroma indicates. It is both herbal with hoppy bitterness and earthy with a bit of dark fruited aspect. It is quite tangy and drying on the palate yet brings forth some salivation factor. As the brew warms up, there is a toasty flavor that seems to be like a toffee sort of grain indication or perhaps more reasonably a toasty depth of character imparted by the barrel aging. If possible, I would give this a 4.25 for taste, so I'll round up to a 4.5.

This is a medium bodied brew with a lively level of modest to high carbonation. There is not much abv impact but the combination of sourness and herbal bitterness is very trying on the palate. I enjoyed this but the combination of bitterness and sourness overall degraded this brews drinkability for me. Even though this brew was split equally between 4 people, I had a hard time finishing my ~5-6 oz. To this brews credit it was very unique with bold enjoyable barrel character. I wouldn't mind having a fresh one of these for comparison.

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Photo of dasenebler
3.78/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

375ml, 2007 edition, bottled January 2010.

For a three-year old beer, this stuff still looks great. A hard pour produces a thick, off-white head atop a hazy, light amber body. Great retention and lacing, which might have something to do with this being an atypical, all-barley Lambic.

Aroma is funky and acidic, bordering on vinegary. A touch floral, with a mineral character as well.

Man, this particular Cantillon is a double-wallop: not only is there that signature dry sourness, but also a high bitterness from the use of fresh hops. Funky barnyard flavors are apparent, enhanced by the earthy hop flavor. Touch of citrusy hops on the finish-- very different for a Cantillon. Acidity is citric, but also with that same ripe apple and strawberry thing I tend to get from most Lambics. Mouthfeel is fuller do to the exclusive use of malted barley. The carbonation was perfect and effervescent at first, but faded fast.

All of the Cantillon beers are intense, but this one is especially potent due to the bitterness. It borders on overpowering, but still remains drinkable, just not as refreshing as some of this brewery's other Lambics.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.77/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled March 19, 2013.

Appearance - Deep orange. The head builds as I pour it. Ends up with a pretty decent creamy colored head. Murky body. Dark for a "lambic."

Smell - Quite hoppy. Hoppy with a citrus acidity. Equal quantities of maltiness and acidity.

Taste - Lemony sourness, but nothing like other Cantillons. Malt replaces grain and hay. Hoppy flavor throughout blends nicely with the sourness. Slightly bitter in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, but less spritzy than other lambics. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Interesting experiment, but I prefer regular lambics over this. A lot of complexity is lost.

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Photo of shbobdb
3.77/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hmmm . . . I've had this beer before, but where? Ahh, yes, the De Proef Flemish Primitive Series!

What, blasphemy, you say? Not in the slightest. What a difference wheat makes, coupled with some hops, eh? This beer has the distinctive 'dead grandmother' taste found in the De Proef beers, with a nice earthy hop presence and just a hint of a lactic twang at the end. But this beer is much less sour than standard Cantillon fair.

A very interesting beer, to say the very least.

But let's get down to the specifics -- it pours a hazy bronze/orange with less bubbly than I'm used to in a gueuze (which isn't surprising, since it isn't a gueuze) and shockingly poor head-retention.

It smells strongly of rotting corpses and sour apples.

The taste continues the theme of the smell, with the corpse predominating followed by apricots and granny smith apples. There is a surprisingly hoppy finish -- tastes like an earthy continental hop to me, but I can't be sure which one, mingled with a very slight lactic edge.

The mouthfeel is quite thin, probably due to the lack of bubbly. Not unpleasant, mind you, but I think some added acidity from the carbonation would have helped the finish on this beer, as well as flesh it out a little. And this is with the 1900 Grand Cru being one of my favourite beers! So it isn't just a general aversion to lack of carbonation.

The drinkability on this beer is good. A strange experiment to be sure, and I guess the dead grandmother taste doesn't just come from brett, but rather brett's interaction with either the hops or the absence of wheat . . . or some other variable I'm not considering.

An interesting brew, but I'd rather have either gotten their gueuze (which I think tastes better) or a Flemish Primitive (which I think tastes similar, but at half the cost). But no regrets on purchasing it! And at $20 a bottle, that is saying something!

Bottled in: 2005
Drank: Early 2007

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Photo of biga7346
3.77/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into oversized wine glass, 2006.

A: Hazy, turbid, flat, little carbonation and no head retention, a pretty amberish-rose color. Very little lacing.

S: Big wine notes maybe burgundy, tartness was surprisingly mild, spritzy, resiny and an under-current of mustiness which I like very much and would like to have had more of it.

T: Mineral water, resin, burgundy, maybe dry sherry up front with soft horse blanket in the finish with some acidity. Very refreshing.

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Photo of CrellMoset
3.77/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cantillon Iris, Vintage 2005, courtesy of proteus93 - thanks! Split three ways w/ proteus and dkachur, w/ my portion poured into a brandy snifter.

Appearance: Pours an incredibly hazy, turgid golden yellow, dirty and gross, with no head of which to speak and only a very thin, fine-bubbled collar of off-white bubbles. Not unreasonable for the style, but I can't say it's pleasant to look at.

Aroma: Fruity and funky as hell, though only slightly sour. Cherry notes and apple skins, tossed around in a barn. The earthy funky horseblanket is intense in this one, and the sourness - though delicate and well-blended - has a slight acidic, vinegary quality. Pretty good, nonetheless.

Taste: Sour funk. 'Nuff said. There are very few notes here other than that. Acidic, only slightly-fruity tartness, all-encompassing, though not really overpowering. That is, it's not as flavorful as I'd like, either up front or any other way. Slightly disappointing.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, due to the sourness, but in a thick blanket. Overall, it's a little less lively than I'd expected or would like, though not bad, as it is incredibly soft and delicate.

Drinkability: If you like the aforementioned sour funk, it's quite possible that you'll enjoy this brew immensely - I just didn't find it too terribly complex, unfortunately. I can appreciate what it was and what it was trying to be however, and that, coupled with the low alcohol, makes me think that it must be pretty drinkable.

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Photo of backpackeraaron
3.76/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Went on a weekend trip to Belgium and this was one of the beers I bought.

Poured from bottle to fluted glass

A- Pours a nice golden color with no noticable head. (poured into 2 glasses) 1st was very clear and second contained some yeast and was a bit hazy which is not a bad thing.

S- Barnyard Funk, Citrus almost like I can tell what taste is coming, fruity herbal, not lemon, but hard to explain.

T- On the front end I taste some sweetness, in the middle perhaps some old wet grass and at the backend I taste loads of SOURNESS.

M- Carbonation level about what I expect. Probably around 2.5-3 volumes. The beer flows across the palate fairly easily till the sourness comes..

D- Not my favorite style of beer, but great for what it is. I can drink about 1 bottle, but thats about all. Not someting I would tell my friends they have to try, unless I just want to see the look on their faces.

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Photo of rastaman
3.75/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Kind of strange really, very sour yeasty aroma, with hints of parsley, lemongrass and flowers. Quite sour and then bitter, with a grassy earthy flavour, complex and different. I don't think this quite worked, that green stemmy, flowery quality, didn't seem to fit alongside the sour yeastyness. Still, hardcore.

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Photo of phichifiji00
3.75/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a taster glass at Beachwood BBQ Sourfest:

Appearance: cloudy yellow/orange, white head which quickly fades.

Smell: Citrus, acidic, tart, sour, a little funky, sour apple, apricot aromas.

Taste: Citrus, Sour, honey flavors towards the middle, funky. Something seemed off towards the end.

Mouthfeel: light-medium bodied.

Overall: Not my favorite from Cantillon, but still well worth the experience.

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Photo of Spider889
3.74/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2004 vintage from the cellar at Monk's Cafe.

Boy was this little guy expensive!

The server brought this up from the cellar and you could tell there was some water damage on the label, more than half was peeling/rotted off. I think there was something sludgy around the outside of the cork too, because right before using the corkscrew the server rushed away and opened this out of sight.

The beer looks nearly flat with absolutely no head at all. It was a dirty copper color.

Smelled very musty with quite sweet queuze-like moments. Under that rotted oak planks are strong. Dry brett and lactic hints of green apple also grew as the beer began to open up more.

The taste is very bitter up front for the style. Not puckeringly sour as some Cantillon can be. Super dry and smokey with notes of earth and trodden grass along with some black cherry as well.

Sadly neither the funk nor the sour quite lived up to my hopes for my first lambic so old.

The mouthfeel is very dry and as acidic as it can get before becoming outright sour. There was an almost gritty/dusty element as well that wasn't overly appealing.

Overall this was a nice beer to try, but I'd take Classic Gueuze over this any day. Would love to give this another shot though someday, especially on a fresh bottle to compare.

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Cantillon Iris from Brasserie Cantillon
95 out of 100 based on 481 ratings.